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Philippine Daily Inquirer: Oil firm may face raps for gas leak in QC

Philippine Daily Inquirer: Oil firm may face raps for gas leak in QC

“The Quezon City fire department said it would file charges of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and physical injuries against Shell…”

Tuesday 23 August 2005

First posted 00:07am (Mla time) Aug 23, 2005

By DJ Yap

Inquirer News Service

Editor’s Note: Published on page A19 of the August 23, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

A MAJOR oil company could still be held liable for the gas leak that caused an explosion in Quezon City on Sunday, although it had agreed to shoulder the medical expenses of victims and the repair of damaged property.

The Quezon City fire department said it would file charges of reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and physical injuries against Shell and Darnel Imbo, driver of the leaking tanker, when the victims filed their affidavits.

The Shell tanker, with plate number XFB-115, spilled some 5,000 liters of gasoline into a canal, causing an explosion that razed a house and hurt 16 persons in a slum area in Don Antonio Heights Subdivision in Barangay Holy Spirit.

The blast also caused the collapse of and damage to several shanties. Glass windows of other houses also reportedly shattered.

The leak reportedly started when the valve in one of the compartments was punctured by a large rock, according to arson investigators.

The gas later leaked into a canal leading to a creek. Someone might have turned on a stove that triggered the blast a kilometer away from where the tanker was parked, a fire official said.

SFO3 Dionisio Capote said Shell technical experts had now declared the area bordered by Don Gregorio, Don San Miguel and Don Victorino Streets safe, as no more gas concentrations were traced.

He said the Shell tanker was brought to the Pandacan depot so it could no longer pose a danger to people.

Capote said, though Shell was assisting victims, an investigation was needed to ascertain the oil company’s liability.

Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said he preferred an amicable settlement between Shell and the victims, “unless the victims were found to have been negligent.” Shell assured the mayor they would pay for the hospitalization of the victims, as well as the reconstruction or repair of damaged houses.

Belmonte said claims for property damage could be filed with the barangay, while victims seeking medical aid could go directly to the company. The mayor said he had also instructed the city engineer to inspect the area for possible damage to the barangay’s drainage system.

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